Substitute Teaching

Who I wanted to substitute when I was in high school.

I’ve been getting ready to start subbing again next week. I was reading a couple of articles about subs in different parts of the country and came across the following:

“‘After my experience substituting, I admire good teachers more than ever. But parents and educators should realize that too many teachers are leaving their children’s education in the hands of unskilled, untrained stand-ins,’ [Carolyn] Bucior wrote in The New York Times.

“She realized she was one of those stand-ins – and stopped substituting” (Alan J. Boruk. “Shorewood writer is voice for change in substitute teaching.” JSOnline; Journal Sentinel. web. Milwaukee, WI; 12.18.2011).

I agree and at the same time a tad upset. Here are some of the problems I have with subbing:

  • Subs get no training other than what will happen to you if you touch a kid, use the school’s internet, use your cell phone or not dress appropriately: termination and possible criminal charges.
  • Subs get little to no support from the schools. Some schools are much better than others, but many treat the sub like a mannequin.
  • Subs get no respect from other teachers (for the most part–there have been some exceptions).
  • Subs ofter do not deserve any respect because of crud attitudes.
  • Subs rarely get the opportunity to actually teach because teachers think of them as mannequins.
  • Subs are often mannequins.

I suppose there is good reason for this: no one cares. Parents ask their kids what did they learn and the kids respond: “Nothing, it was just a sub.”

When I was a kid, I wanted Ric Ocasek to be my sub, but when he never showed, I let the Mr. Skinner/Patty Bouvier type have it.

BTW: I love subbing, I’m not quitting.


4 thoughts on “Substitute Teaching

  1. Subbing tough in Miami. Light go out, books and chairs fly. As soon as bell rings 10 want a pass to bathroom or library(neither true) and others just leave and the disrespect goes on. But if you were a real regular sub the kids got to know you and you were not just a sub but someone in the loop things would be much better. I did 33 years classroom teacher mostly 11th grade American history here in Miami. Thanks visit my humor blog. What kind of butterfly is that avatar of yours?

    • Carl,

      Thanks for dropping by. I would love to get a permanent subbing post. You’re right about getting to know the students and being part of the operation. Regarding my gravatar, it is actually a flea and not a butterfly.


  2. In Australia, the latest term is “Supply Teacher”. My wife is one. I went to one of her classes one day and was shocked by the lack of respect shown to her by the students. I admire and respect her even more now.

    • Respect is a huge problem. I had noticed one thing though, it really depends on the disciple the regular teacher practices, if the class rude to the regular teacher, than it is going to be worse for the sub. The same is true for the entire school.

      Thanks for stopping by, Colin. I appreciate it.

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